October 22, 2010


Gwynne, S.C., Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History (New York: Scribner, 2010) (See the review, "The Battle for Texas: The Tale of the Comanches," The Economist, June 19th 2010, at 85.).

Philbrick, Nathaniel, The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and The Battle of the Little Bighorn (New York: Viking, 2010) ("But when does resistance to the inevitable simply become an expression of personal ego or, even worse, of narrow-minded nostalgia for a vanished past?" Id. at xviii. "In the late nineteenth century, with the help of Buffalo Bill Cody's tremendously popular Wild West show, which often ended with an earsplitting reenactment of Custer's demise, the perpetually thirty-six-year-old general became the symbol of what many Americans wanted their country to be: a pugnacious, upstart global power. Just as Custer had stood fearlessly before overwhelming odds, the United States must stand firm against the likes of Spain, German, and Russia. Now that America had completed its bloodstained march across the West, it was time to take on the world." Id. at 302. See Bruce Barcott, "Men on Horseback, NYT Book Review, Sunday, 6/1/2010; and Michiko Kakutani, "Last Stand? Yes. Last Word? Never.", NYT, Friday, 6/4/2000.).

Richardson, Heather Cox, Wounded Knee: Party Politics and the Road to An American Massacre (New York: Basic Books, 2010) ("Ohiyesa's father, Many Lightnings, had not, in fact, been hanged with the other Santees in 1862. He had been sent to prison in Davenport, Iowa, where he converted to Christainity and added the name Jacob to his wife's surname--Eastman--to rechristen himself Jacob Eastman. Rather than settle on the reservation at Santee, Nebraska, where the government had placed other Santees, Eastman and some of his neighbors homesteaded in what became Flandreau, about forty miles from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on the Big Sioux River. Once settle, Jacob sought out his son, brought him to Flandreu, and encouraged him to adopt white ways. Ohiyesa became Charles Alexander Eastman and began working his way through white schools, a task that required his people's 'undaunted bravery and stoic resignation,' he later recalled with a glint of humor." Id. at 53. "As both a refugee forced off his land and a well-educated doctor, [Charles Alexander] Eastman had seen both sides of America's post-Civil War economy. He had thought long about what he had witnessed in South Dakota in 1890, and had come to believe that the blame for the murder of the Sioux at Wounded Knee could not be placed on the soldiers alone. The fault was that of American society itself. Eastman concluded that the men who had destroyed the Sioux economy talked a lot about Christianity, but their actions had nothing to do with that generous religion. 'I have not yet seen the meek inherit the earth, or the peacemakers receive high honors,' he noted. 'Why do we find so much evil and wickedness practiced by the nations composed of professedly 'Christian' individuals?' For all their noble talk, such men were no different than the tyrants of the past, eager to take everything for themselves. 'The pages of history are full of licensed murder and the plundering of weaker and less developed peoples, and obviously the world to-day has not outgrown this system,' Eastman mused," "In the end, the Sioux doctor condemned the America he knew. He had given up his traditional way of life for a promise of a better world in which individuals strove for the good of all. Instead he had found prejudice and butchery in the name of economic progress. . . ." Id. at 315-316.).

White, Richard, The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815 (Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1991) ("The book is about a search for accommodation and common meaning. It is almost circular in form. It tells how Europeans and Indians met and regarded each other as alien, as other, as virtually nonhuman. It tells how, over the net two centuries, they constructed a common, mutually comprehensible world in the region around the Great Lakes the French called the pays d'en haut. This world was not an Eden, and it should not be romanticized. Indeed, it could be a violent and sometimes horrifying place. But in this world the older worlds of the Algonquians and of various Europeans overlapped, and their mixture created new systems of meaning and of exchange. But finally, the narrative tells of the breakdown of accommodation and common meanings and the re-creation of the Indian as alien, as exotic, as other." "In this story, the accommodation I speak of is not acculturation under a new name. As commonly used, acculturation describes a process in which one group becomes more like another by borrowing discrete cultural traits. Acculturation proceeds under conditions in which a dominant group is largely able to dictate correct behavior to a subordinate group. The process of accommodation described in this book certainly involves cultural change, but it takes place in between: in between cultures, peoples, and in between empires and the nonstate world of villages. It is place where many of the North American subjects and allies of empires lived. It is the area between the historical foreground of European invasion and occupation and the background of Indian defeat and retreat." "On the middle ground diverse people adjust their differences through what amounts to a process of creative, and often expedient, misunderstandings. People try to persuade others who are different from themselves by appealing to what they perceive to be the values and practices of those other. They often misinterpret and distort both the values and practices of those they deal with, but from these misunderstanding arise new meanings and through them new practices--the share meanings and practices of the middle ground." "This accommodation took place because for long periods of time in large parts of the colonial world white could neither dictate to Indians nor ignore them. Whites needed Indians as allies, as partners in exchange, as sexual partners, a s friendly neighbors. . . . ". Id. at ix-x.).